Originally created 12/26/05

There's not much intelligence in our design, or its evolution



It always amazes me when creationists try to snake their way into biology class with a theory that our universe and everything in it is a product of "intelligent design."

Their notion is, of course, a sneak attack on Darwinian evolution that makes Custer's Last Stand look like a polo match.

Here, the way I understand it, is their theory of intelligent design: The planet's life forms are too complex to have developed after billions of years in the making; surely they had a hand from an intelligent force, and they certainly haven't been evolving since then.

The life forms they're talking about are, of course, humans. And that intelligent force is, of course, God, though nobody is willing to say so for the record because it would mean admitting that the topic of the day is, in fact, creationism.

A war of words has gone on for some time - long after mankind dropped from the trees but shortly before he invented vinyl siding. Just last week, a major skirmish in the debate ended when a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania school district from teaching intelligent design as part of its science curriculum. The judge said intelligent design would be a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.

I'm not quite sure what arguments were put forth on each side of the case, but if they had asked me, I would have rendered my own legal opinion: "Good grief! Use the noggin God gave you. And be careful: If you try to put religion into class, you might not like whose religion gets taught."

Science and religion are both wonderful, but they don't explain each other. I believe we were created, and are evolving. My idea of intelligent design, though, does not include a backbone that was never intended for walking upright, a back that causes us even more pain than all our children's broken promises combined.

I speak from plenty of experience; my own back goes out more than Paris Hilton. That's why I don't carry a wallet, because sitting on it would throw my spine into a weird warp. That's why I sit in straight chairs instead of comfy armchairs. That's why I steer clear of the twisting motions that come from tennis, mopping and professional hockey. (OK, there are other reasons for avoiding those recreations, but back pain is one.)

I believe God made us perfect from the get-go and we've had millions of years to wear ourselves down into the groove we call civilization. We're simply a much, much, much longer version of a grueling business trip or a family vacation.

Another thing: What is so intelligent about losing our hair as we age? During the winter of our lives when we could use a rug on our head to keep the heat in, many men and some women begin going bald.

Does that happen elsewhere in the animal kingdom? How many chrome domes have you seen on grizzly bears? Now who's intelligent?

To make matters worse, our bodies begin growing hair in places we don't need or want it. What's the benefit, for instance, of growing hair in our ears at an age when it's difficult enough to hear because we've spent a lifetime abusing that sense with loud music, lawn mowers, wars and child-rearing?

If we're put together so well, why does man still have an appendix? Why do we develop high blood pressure, allergies, astigmatism and bad teeth? Our bodies eat, drink and breathe through the same tube; does that sound logical? Why don't we have enough sense to come in out of the rain, especially when we live in the paths of hurricanes?

The list of our deficiencies is indeed long (as is the list of our slow and steady improvements), but I don't blame Darwin or God or anyone else. We've had a great while to get to where we are today, and teaching science students otherwise would have been a step back into the cave.

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.